Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence

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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:26 am

Part 1 of 2

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.
by Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
December 13, 2016

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WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.

“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.

Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.

From: Charles Delavan <cdelavan@hillaryclinton.com>
Date: March 19, 2016 at 9:54:05 AM EDT
To: Sara Latham <slatham@hillaryclinton.com>, Shane Hable <shable@hillaryclinton.com>
Subject: Re: Someone has your password

Sara,

This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately, and ensure that two-factor authentication is turned on his account.

He can go to this link: https://myaccount.google.com/security to do both. It is absolutely imperative that this is done ASAP.

Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, incorrectly legitimized a phishing email sent to the personal account of John D. Podesta, the campaign chairman.


By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.

The fallout included the resignations of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the D.N.C., and most of her top party aides. Leading Democrats were sidelined at the height of the campaign, silenced by revelations of embarrassing emails or consumed by the scramble to deal with the hacking. Though little-noticed by the public, confidential documents taken by the Russian hackers from the D.N.C.’s sister organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned up in congressional races in a dozen states, tainting some of them with accusations of scandal.

In recent days, a skeptical president-elect, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

"Talk to Emile and he'll give you the Seneca right around the first of the year."

"What's significant about the first of the year?"

"The tithing is gonna really go on the increase, come January 1."

"Tithing?"

"Yeah, the dime that the state's workin' on for lettin' the Agency's operation go on here," Seal answered. "You didn't think somethin' this big could be goin' on without havin' to pay for it. Shit, you were in Southeast Asia. Didn't you tell me we had to pay some fuckin' prince in Laos every time the Air Force dropped a bomb there? You see it's all the same, just one fuckin' banana republic after another."

The "dime" Seal referred to was the 10 percent being charged the CIA by high Arkansas state officials for allowing the Agency to operate in Arkansas. The word tithing Terry had learned back in his Sunday school days in the Nazarene Church. The term meant 10 per cent of your money would be given the church and, in return, as the Bible proclaimed, you would get it back 10 fold. And this was undoubtedly true for the CIA.

Arkansas was providing cover for the Agency's illegal airplane modifications, Contra training operations, arms shipments and, from what Seal revealed, ways to invest the black money that was being made from its gun-running to Central America. So that's why the singer Glen Campbell called Arkansas the "land of opportunity."

***

Here he was at the core. Like Dorothy, he had looked behind the curtain and seen the true "Wizard."

Here was what seemed a strange alliance. A state run by Democrats in bed with a Republican administration in Washington, and both conspiring to evade Congress' prohibition against aiding or abetting the Contras. It was so steeped with hypocrisy.

Was the CIA the invisible force that had the power to compromise these political pillars of the nation?

Were these same invisible forces orbiting only in Arkansas or throughout the nation? He wondered. But why limit it to the nation? Perhaps the world functioned under one control. Could that control be the CIA? Was there a secret alliance of agents worldwide who operate as they please?

Religion, he had come to realize, was a form of social control. Was politics as well? Was it just a game like professional sports, simply to divert public attention from what was really happening? Was it all just a placebo?

While driving back to OSI, Terry was strangely quiet and withdrawn. He was feeling manipulated by the social order he had been raised to obey, and now he had doubts about his previous motivations in life.

"You're awfully quiet, Terry-san," Sawahata said after a few minutes.

"Aki I've got to ask you a question. It's funny I've never asked, considering all the time we've spent together. Are you a Republican or a Democrat."

"I am a political atheist. I work for the CIA."

"What does that mean?"

"That means Agency is politics. Agency is the government. Everything else is just puppets, a big game, Terry-san. You did not know that?"

If Terry Reed was not a liability before, he certainly was now. Those who see behind the curtain are always a threat. It was like someone telling the Pope in the 1300s that the world was really round and that it did, indeed, revolve around the sun, rather than the other way around.

***

The five waiting men were clearly taken aback when Governor Bill Clinton stepped from the vehicle with his aide, Bob Nash, and led the entourage into the World War II ammunition storage bunker that would serve as the meeting place.

In a low tone, Cathey turned to Terry and said: "Shit! I was afraid he'd show up. That'll certainly upset our agenda. I'm glad Johnson is here. He'll be able to handle him."

The waiting group of five had expected Nash, but not his boss, Arkansas' Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton. By his mere appearance, Clinton was risking exposure of his involvement in unauthorized covert operations. But he seemed desperate.

The meeting had been called at Camp Robinson, an Army facility outside Little Rock, to get some problems ironed out. In addition to the governor and his aide, the "guest list" included Max Gomez (Felix Rodriguez), John Cathey (Oliver North), resident CIA agent Akihide Sawahata, Agency subcontractor Terry Reed -- and the man in charge, the one who would call the shots. He called himself Robert Johnson.

Johnson had been sent from Washington to chair this very delicate operational briefing that would hopefully extricate the Agency from its entanglement in what was becoming a messy situation in Arkansas....

Cathey began the briefing.

"Governor Clinton," he said switching to his toastmaster tone, "I'm glad you could attend tonight's meeting with us. We're both surprised and honored. Bobby (Nash) didn't inform us you would be attending ... However, let's get down to it....

Terry viewed this meeting as his initiation into the inner circle. But this impromptu appearance by Governor Clinton, however, would expose Terry to yet more things that he had no "need to know." It would also confirm his suspicions that operations in Arkansas were being run with Clinton's full knowledge....

"Gentlemen," Cathey said, "this meeting is classified Top-Secret. The items discussed here should be relayed to no one who does not have an operational need to know. I repeat Top-Secret. There are to be no notes taken."...

Johnson, Cathey said, was the personal representative of CIA Director William Casey and had been sent to chair the meeting. Casey was too important to show his face, Terry assumed. But he felt honored, and yet surprised, to find he'd been dealing with someone so closely connected to the Director of Central Intelligence, the top of the intelligence pyramid.

"Thank you," Johnson said. "As Mr. Cathey mentioned, I am the emissary of Mr. Casey, who for obvious security reasons could not attend.
We are at a major junction of our Central American support program. And I am here to tie up a few loose ends. As you are all aware, the severity of the charges that could be brought against us if this operation becomes public ... well, I don't need to remind you of what Benjamin Franklin said as he and our founding fathers framed the Declaration of Independence ..."

Cathey interrupted. "Yeah, but hanging is a much more humane way of doing things than what Congress will put us through if any of this leaks out." This marked the only time during the briefing that laughter was heard.

"This is true," Johnson replied. "And therefore, Governor Clinton, I'm going to find it necessary to divide this meeting into groups so that we don't unnecessarily expose classified data to those who don't have an absolute need to know. We can first discuss any old business that concerns either "Centaur Rose" or "Jade Bridge", and I think that you will agree that afterwards you and Mr. Nash will have to excuse yourselves ..."

Clinton was visibly indignant, giving the angry appearance of someone not accustomed to being treated in such a condescending manner.

"It seems someone in Washington has made decisions without much consulting with either myself or my aide here, Mr. Nash. And I'd like to express my concern about the possible exposure my state has as you guys skedaddle out of here to Mexico. I feel somewhat naked and compromised. You're right, there are definitely some loose ends!"...

Nash interjected: "Sir, Governor Clinton's concerns are that there may be some loose ends cropping up from the Mena operation in general. As you know, we have had our Arkansas State Police intelligence division riding herd on the project. And that has been no simple task. Even with some of our ASP officers undercover over there, we couldn't have gained any real inside knowledge had it not been for Mr. Reed's ability to report it directly to me. This thing about Barry Seal getting Governor Clinton's brother involved is what's got us all upset. I mean, as we speak, there's an investigation going on that could spill over onto some very influential people here in Arkansas, and people very close to the governor personally ..."

Johnson looked like he was getting irritated. Clinton had not been scheduled to be there and his original agenda now was being discarded.

"Hold on!" Johnson shot back. "Calm down! Mr. Casey is fully in charge here. Don't you old boys get it. Just tell me what has to be taken care of, or who needs to be taken care of, and I'll fix it for you!"

Johnson boasted to the group that Attorney General Edwin Meese, by arranging the appointment of J. Michael Fitzhugh as U.S. Attorney in Western Arkansas, had effectively stonewalled the ongoing money laundering investigations in Mena where the Contra training operations had been centered. It was his impression, Johnson said, that everything was now "kosher" and the "containment" was still in place. Operations "Rose" and "Bridge" had not been exposed because federal law-enforcement agencies had been effectively neutralized. But Johnson said he was now concerned that the "drug" investigation there might expand beyond his control and unmask the residue of black operations.

Now the meeting was starting to turn into a shouting match, Terry quietly observed that Clinton appeared on the verge of losing his well-rehearsed, statesman-like demeanor. Stopping investigations around Mena had helped the CIA and its bosses in Washington, but it had not solved any of the governor's local political problems. And these same problems were threatening to unveil the Mena operations.

It was the spring of 1986, just over a month after Barry Seal's assassination in Louisiana. Clinton was facing a very tough and dirty reelection campaign. His Republican opponent was certain to be ex-Governor Frank White, the only man who had ever defeated Clinton. The newspapers were filled with stories about Clinton's brother, who had been convicted and served time from federal drug trafficking charges, giving White the dirt he needed to launch a serious and damaging political attack.

Roger Clinton had "rolled over" and turned informant, enabling the Feds to begin an investigation of investment banker Dan Lasater, a close personal friend and campaign contributor of Clinton's. This investigation, it was clear, could spill over into Lasater's firm, possibly exposing CIA money-laundering and other possible illegal activities. [1]

The investigation of Clinton's brother had been carried out largely by disloyal state police officials who were backing White, and without Clinton's knowledge, when the inquiry was first initiated. Terry wondered whether a "coup" was building? Clinton was clearly in big political trouble, and his demeanor now was not the cool and composed man people saw on television. Perhaps the CIA and the Reagan administration wanted another "presidente," a Republican one, in its banana republic?

Rumors were also running wild that the bond underwriting business, in which Lasater was a major figure, had been used to launder drug money. In addition, candidate White had another big issue to run with. He would charge later that Clinton was directing choice state legal work as bond counsel to the prestigious Rose Law firm, where his wife, Hillary, was a senior partner. And Clinton had to be fearful that exposure of the Mena operations would be the death blow to his reelection hopes. And, if that weren't enough ammunition, the governor was also facing a possible state budgetary shortfall of more than $200 million.

By his comments, the governor's political problems and his potential exposure were clearly on his mind. Clinton showed his contempt for the young man from Washington as he lost his composure, jumped to his feet and shouted: "Getting my brother arrested and bringing down the Arkansas bond business in the process isn't my idea of kosher! You gents live a long way from here. Your meddling in our affairs here is gonna carry long-term exposure for me! I mean us. And what are we supposed to do, just pretend nothing happened?" He was angry.

"Exactly, pretend nothing's happened," Johnson snapped back. "It's just like the commercial, you're in good hands with Allstate. Only in this case, it's the CIA." Johnson paused, took a deep breath, and continued. "Mr. Clinton, Bill, if you will, some of those loose ends you refer to here were definitely brought on by your own people, don't you agree? I mean your brother didn't have to start shoving Mr. Seal's drugs up his nose and your friend, Lasater, has been flaunting his new wealth as if he's trying to bring you down. We're having to control the SEC and the IRS just to keep him afloat.

"Our deal with you was to help 'reconstruct the South,''' Johnson sniped, using a term Southerners hate, since it reminds them of the post-Civil War Yankee dominance of the South. "We didn't plan on Arkansas becoming more difficult to deal with than most banana republics. This has turned out to be almost comical."

"Bobby! Don't sit here on your black ass and take this Yankee shit!" Clinton yelled at Nash in an appeal for support. "Tell him about Seal bribing those federal agents!" It was getting to resemble a verbal tennis match as volleys were being lobbed, each one with more intensity. From the comment about Seal, Terry concluded that Clinton did in fact have his own intelligence network, too.

"Why, Mr. Clinton, with racial slurs like that, the federal government could terminate educational busing aid here," Johnson wryly shot back. "I thought Arkansas was an equal opportunity employer!"

Nash touched the governor's arm, coaxing him back into his chair.

Johnson continued, "The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business. What we didn't plan on was you and your token nigger here to start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry."

"What do you mean by shrinking the laundry?!" Clinton asked still shouting. By now, Clinton's face was flushed with anger.

To the CIA, Arkansas had to be a money-launderers' heaven. To understand why, one must realize that intelligence agencies have the same problem as drug traffickers. To launder cash, a trafficker must either find a bank willing to break the law by not filing the documentation required for cash deposits, or go offshore where reporting requirements are less strict. Like traffickers, once offshore, the CIA must use wire transfers to get their money into the U.S., but at great risk of detection.

The trafficker, having broken the law to make his money, has no legal recourse if his banker double-crossed him. In other words, it's an insecure investment, which pays low interest, if any.

Arkansas offered the CIA something money launderers are rarely able to achieve, a secure business environment containing a banking industry where vast amounts of money move around unnoticed as part of the normal course of business. Through its substantial bond underwriting activities, the state had a huge cash flow that could allow dirty and clean money to co-mingle without detection. All they were lacking was the "dirty banker" to cooperate with them by ignoring the federal banking laws.

And that they found within the Clinton administration. This "banker" was none other than the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, or ADFA, which was a creation of, and directly under the control of, the governor's office. Its official mandate was to loan money to businesses either already in or coming to Arkansas in order to develop an industrial base for new jobs that Clinton had made the centerpiece of his administration. ADFA, was in effect, a bank making preferred loans.

But, from what Terry had learned from Seal and Sawahata, that was not all ADFA was doing. ADFA, in effect a state investment bank, was being "capitalized" by large cash transfusions that the Agency was taking great pains to hide.

"No paper, no trail," seemed to be the dominate doctrine of the Agency's activities since, by design, cash dropped from an airplane in a duffel bag is not the standard way of transferring money.

ADFA was designed to compete for the profits generated by the bond issues necessary to industrialize Arkansas. The old Arkansas Industrial Development Commission that Clinton had inherited had no money of its own, and was forced to send prospective clients seeking industrial development loans to the established, privately-run investment banking industry in Little Rock. The state could be very selective in its referral business, however, and those who received the state's business stood to profit handsomely.

This insider referral business was alive and well when Terry moved to Arkansas, and he saw Seth Ward's son-in-law, Finis Shellnut, jockey for a position to reap these profits by going to work for Lasater, who was getting the lion's share of the secret sweetheart deals.

Before ADFA's creation, the state sent preferred business directly to investment banking firms like Lasater's. All that was needed for money-laundering was the firm's silence and a source of cash, which, in this case, the CIA provided. The heads of these firms were a coterie of wealthy and well-connected people who got even richer by doing what comes natural in Arkansas, "The Natural State" as it's called ..... dealing incestuously under the table.

Arkansas desperately needed new businesses -- and so did the CIA. It had plenty of black money, but that alone was not enough. "You can't kill an enemy by lobbing dollars at him" was the phrase Cathey had used with Terry to explain the CIA's dilemma of having the monetary resources to fund the Contras, but no legal way to deliver it directly. The Agency was barred by Congress from converting the cash into weapons and training the Contras needed on the battlefield, at least not through traditional Department of Defense suppliers.

Under Director William Casey's plan, the CIA needed other companies that would be a source of secretly-produced weapons that would find their way into the hands of the Contras. These selected businesses needed payment to perform these services for the CIA, and that cash came to them conveniently in a legal and undetectable manner, through ADFA, in the form of industrial development loans backed by tax-free development bonds. The CIA should have been showing a profit through accrued interest on their secured investments. But a problem had arisen. As Johnson had said, the "laundry" was shrinking.

And Johnson was not happy about that as evidenced by the way he was firing back at Clinton. It was apparent that Johnson knew Clinton and his people had not abided by his agreement with the Agency.

"Our deal was for you to have 10 per cent of the profits, not 10 per cent of the gross," Johnson sternly admonished Clinton.

"This has turned into a feeding frenzy by your good ole boy sharks, and you've had a hand in it, too, Mr. Clinton. Just ask your Mr. Nash to produce a business card. I'll bet it reads Arkansas Development and Finance Authority. We know what's been going on. Our people are professionals; they're not stupid. They didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, as you guys say. This ADFA of yours is double-dipping. Our deal with you was to launder our money. You get 10 per cent after costs and after post-tax profits. No one agreed for you to start loaning our money out to your friends through your ADFA so that they could buy machinery to build our guns. That wasn't the deal. Mr. Sawahata tells me that one of ADFA's first customers was some parking meter company that got several million in ... how shall we say it ... in preferred loans.

"Dammit, we bought a whole gun company, lock, stock and barrel and shipped the whole thing down here for you. And Mr. Reed even helped set it up. You people go and screw us by setting up some subcontractors that weren't even authorized by us. Shit, people who didn't even have security clearances. That's why we're pulling the operation out of Arkansas. It's become a liability for us. We don't need live liabilities."....

Clinton had paused for a moment to ponder Johnson's words. "What do ya' mean, live liabilities?" he demanded.

"There's no such thing as a dead liability. It's an oxymoron, get it? Oh, or didn't you Rhodes Scholars study things like that?" Johnson snapped.

"What! Are you threatenin' us? Because if ya' are ..."

Johnson stared down at the table, again took a deep breath, and paused. It appeared he wanted to elevate the tone of the disintegrating exchange.

"Calm down and listen," Johnson said. "We are all in this together. We all have our personal agendas ... but let's not forget, both the Vice President and Mr. Casey want this operation to be a success. We need to get these assets and resources in place and get them self-sustaining and prospering on their own while we have the chance. This is a golden opportunity. The timing is right. We have communists taking over a country in this hemisphere. We must all pull together and play as a team. This is no time for lone wolves. Mr. Seal is an example of what happens to lone wolves. They just don't survive in the modern world of intelligence.

"I'm not here to threaten you. But there have been mistakes. The Mena operation survived undetected and unexposed only because Mr. Seal carried with him a falsely created, high-level profile of a drugrunner. All the cops in the country were trying to investigate a drug operation. That put the police in a position where we could control them. We fed them what we wanted to feed them, when we wanted to feed them; it was our restaurant and our menu. Seal was himself a diversion. It was perfect until your brother started free-enterprising and now we have to shut it down. It's as simple as that. Mr. Seal was a good agent and it's a shame he's dead. But, hopefully, our new operation will build on Seal's success in sustaining our Contra support effort while goddamn Congress dilly dallies around as the Russians take over Nicaragua."

Clinton just glared back. "That was a good sermon, but what can you specifically do to end this investigation concerning my brother and the bond business?"

"Your brother needed to go to jail," Johnson said staring at the governor. "As governor you should intervene and make things as painless as possible now. As far as the money investigation goes, Mr. Meese is intervening right now. There will be no money investigation. The U.S. attorney's office (in Little Rock) is 'getting religion' as we speak. *

"There may be nothing we can do about your friend Lasater's drug problem. I suggest that he and everyone else caught with their pants down take the bad along with the good and do a little time -- as your brother has. It's a shame. But bartenders shouldn't drink. If some of our people are going to be in the drug business as a cover, they should do as Mrs. Reagan says and 'just say no'."

Johnson had applied the balm and now the massage began. "Bill, you are Mr. Casey's fair-haired boy. But you do have competition for the job you seek. We would never put all our eggs in one basket. You and your state have been our greatest asset. The beauty of this, as you know, is that you're a Democrat, and with our ability to influence both parties, this country can get beyond partisan gridlock. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you're No. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job you've always wanted.

Image
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)


"That's pretty heady stuff, Bill. So why don't you help us keep a lid on this and we'll all be promoted together. You and guys like us are the fathers of the new government. Hell, we're the new covenant."

Clinton, having been stroked, seemed satisfied that the cover-up was expanding to, at least, protect the bond business. Like Lyndon Johnson, Clinton had learned that politics is the "art of the possible." He had not gotten everything he wanted, but he was at least walking away whole.

It appeared to Terry that Johnson had won the debate. Clinton and his administration had no grounds to complain about the Agency terminating its operation. Too many errors had been made. The young governor seemed to recognize he had lost, for now, and didn't want to continue the argument in front of the others.

"Bobby, I guess you and I should excuse ourselves," Clinton said while turning to his aide. "These gentlemen have other pressing business and besides, we don't have a need to know ... nor do I think we want to know."

When Clinton exited the bunker, Terry took a moment to absorb what had happened. Clinton had been treated badly in front of the others. Terry had certainly underestimated Johnson, the man he had sized up initially as a mere errand boy for Casey. His youthful demeanor had been misleading. He was clearly a skilled hatchet man. But Terry felt somewhat embarrassed for the governor. Johnson had effectively neutralized the governor of Arkansas' argument by simply changing the subject, and what a subject it was!

Was he hearing that the presidency is offered to a few groomed men, men groomed by the CIA?

Who was this guy, "Johnson," who so easily manipulated Bill Clinton? He made Bill Clinton, on his own turf, appear to be under the control of an invisible force. Up until now, Terry had known Johnson only as the lawyer for Southern Air Transport. He was obviously a lot more than that. He was beginning to take on the mannerisms of a Viceroy and Clinton was certainly showing his obedience to authority and paying the price for fealty. Clinton was compromised....

-- Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA: How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA, by Terry Reed & John Cummings


Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

For the people whose emails were stolen, this new form of political sabotage has left a trail of shock and professional damage. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a key Clinton supporter, recalls walking into the busy Clinton transition offices, humiliated to see her face on television screens as pundits discussed a leaked email in which she had called Mrs. Clinton’s instincts “suboptimal.”

“It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,” Ms. Tanden said. “It was the worst professional experience of my life.”

The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”

Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.

“This tale of ‘hacks’ resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,” Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.

Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.

“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.

“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:02 am

Part 2 of 2

A Target for Break-Ins

Sitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.

“GOP Security Aide Among 5 Arrested in Bugging Affair,” reads the headline from the front page of The Washington Post on June 19, 1972, with the bylines of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year’s election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.

There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.

“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.

The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.

Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond — and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.

“The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that “the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed ‘Dukes’ by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.”

Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.

On September 2015, a call was transferred from the main DNC switchboard to the Help Desk; I was handed the phone by a Help Desk staff member who stated that the FBI was looking for the person in charge of technology at the DNC. I took the call, and learned that the FBI thinks the DNC has at least one compromised computer on its network and that the FBI wanted to know if the DNC is aware, and if so, what the DNC is doing about it. I asked if the person calling, who stated he was Special Agent [DELETE] can provide me with the means of identifying whom he claims to be. He did not provide me with an adequate response, but I did stay on the phone and talked about potential risks to the DNC, without giving him any identifiable information about the DNC, its personnel, or its assets. I did say that the DNC has, in the past, received phishing attack attempts, and ransom-ware type of attacks. The Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed “dukes” by the US intelligence community and in cyber-security circles.

An internal memo by Yared Tamene, a tech-support contractor at the D.N.C., expressed uncertainty about the identity of Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the F.B.I., who called to inform him of the breach.


Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.

In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”

Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.’s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee’s system had likely been compromised.

Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.

“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”

“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”

The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency’s handling of the hack. “The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,” it said in a statement, adding that agents “will continue to share information” to help targets “safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.”

By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.

A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.

“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”

Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.

Google
Someone has your password
Hi William
Someone just used your password to try to sign in to your Google Account [DELETE]@gmail.com.
Details
Tuesday, 22 March, 14:9:25 UTC
IP Address: 134.249.139.239
Location: Ukraine
Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.
CHANGE PASSWORD
Best,
The Gmail Team

A screenshot of the phishing email that Billy Rinehart clicked on, unknowingly giving Russian hackers access to his account. The New York Times has redacted Mr. Rinehart’s email address.


What he did not know until months later is that he had just given the Russian hackers access to his email account.

Hundreds of similar phishing emails were being sent to American political targets, including an identical email sent on March 19 to Mr. Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. Given how many emails Mr. Podesta received through this personal email account, several aides also had access to it, and one of them noticed the warning email, sending it to a computer technician to make sure it was legitimate before anyone clicked on the “change password” button.

“This is a legitimate email,” Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta’s aides, who had noticed the alert. “John needs to change his password immediately.”

With another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account — a total of about 60,000 — were unlocked for the Russian hackers. Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an “illegitimate” email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.

During this second wave, the hackers also gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then, through a virtual private network connection, to the main computer network of the D.N.C.

The F.B.I. observed this surge of activity as well, again reaching out to Mr. Tamene to warn him. Yet Mr. Tamene still saw no reason to be alarmed: He found copies of the phishing emails in the D.N.C.’s spam filter. But he had no reason, he said, to believe that the computer systems had been infiltrated.

One bit of progress had finally been made by the middle of April: The D.N.C., seven months after it had first been warned, finally installed a “robust set of monitoring tools,” Mr. Tamene’s internal memo says.

Honing Stealthy Tactics

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

But for years, the Russians stayed largely out of the headlines, thanks to the Chinese — who took bigger risks, and often got caught. They stole the designs for the F-35 fighter jet, corporate secrets for rolling steel, even the blueprints for gas pipelines that supply much of the United States. And during the 2008 presidential election cycle, Chinese intelligence hacked into the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, making off with internal position papers and communications. But they didn’t publish any of it.

The Russians had not gone away, of course. “They were just a lot more stealthy,” said Kevin Mandia, a former Air Force intelligence officer who spent most of his days fighting off Russian cyberattacks before founding Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm that is now a division of FireEye — and the company the Clinton campaign brought in to secure its own systems.

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

But American officials did not imagine that the Russians would dare try those techniques inside the United States. They were largely focused on preventing what former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned was an approaching “cyber Pearl Harbor” — a shutdown of the power grid or cellphone networks.

But in 2014 and 2015, a Russian hacking group began systematically targeting the State Department, the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Each time, they eventually met with some form of success,” Michael Sulmeyer, a former cyberexpert for the secretary of defense, and Ben Buchanan, now both of the Harvard Cyber Security Project, wrote recently in a soon-to-be published paper for the Carnegie Endowment.

The Russians grew stealthier and stealthier, tricking government computers into sending out data while disguising the electronic “command and control” messages that set off alarms for anyone looking for malicious actions. The State Department was so crippled that it repeatedly closed its systems to throw out the intruders. At one point, officials traveling to Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry for the Iran nuclear negotiations had to set up commercial Gmail accounts just to communicate with one another and with reporters traveling with them.

2016 ELECTION HACKING COVERAGE

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

So the Russians escalated again — breaking into systems not just for espionage, but to publish or broadcast what they found, known as “doxing” in the cyberworld.

It was a brazen change in tactics, moving the Russians from espionage to influence operations. In February 2014, they broadcast an intercepted phone call between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state who handles Russian affairs and has a contentious relationship with Mr. Putin, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Nuland was heard describing a little-known American effort to broker a deal in Ukraine, then in political turmoil.

They were not the only ones on whom the Russians used the steal-and-leak strategy. The Open Society Foundation, run by George Soros, was a major target, and when its documents were released, some turned out to have been altered to make it appear as if the foundation was financing Russian opposition members.

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

The attacks “were not fully integrated military operations,” Mr. Sulmeyer said. But they showed an increasing boldness.

Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear

The day before the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April, Ms. Dacey, the D.N.C.’s chief executive, was preparing for a night of parties when she got an urgent phone call.

With the new monitoring system in place, Mr. Tamene had examined administrative logs of the D.N.C.’s computer system and found something very suspicious: An unauthorized person, with administrator-level security status, had gained access to the D.N.C.’s computers.

“Not sure it is related to what the F.B.I. has been noticing,” said one internal D.N.C. email sent on April 29. “The D.N.C. may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft, etc.”

No one knew just how bad the breach was — but it was clear that a lot more than a single filing cabinet worth of materials might have been taken. A secret committee was immediately created, including Ms. Dacey, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Brown and Michael Sussmann, a former cybercrimes prosecutor at the Department of Justice who now works at Perkins Coie, the Washington law firm that handles D.N.C. political matters.

“Three most important questions,” Mr. Sussmann wrote to his clients the night the break-in was confirmed. “1) What data was accessed? 2) How was it done? 3) How do we stop it?”

Mr. Sussmann instructed his clients not to use D.N.C. email because they had just one opportunity to lock the hackers out — an effort that could be foiled if the hackers knew that the D.N.C. was on to them.

“You only get one chance to raise the drawbridge,” Mr. Sussmann said. “If the adversaries know you are aware of their presence, they will take steps to burrow in, or erase the logs that show they were present.”

On Apr 29, 2016, at 8:05 PM [DELETE] wrote:

Sussman [DELETE]

Not sure if it is related to what the FBI has been noticing, but [DELETE] at the DNC now believes that the DNC may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft etc. They are taking immediate protective measures and looking to see if they can learn more tonight about what has happened and what might have been accessed.

Michael Sussmann, a Washington lawyer and former cybercrime prosecutor at the Justice Department, received an email in late April confirming that the D.N.C.’s computer system had been compromised.


The D.N.C. immediately hired CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, to scan its computers, identify the intruders and build a new computer and telephone system from scratch. Within a day, CrowdStrike confirmed that the intrusion had originated in Russia, Mr. Sussmann said.

The work that such companies do is a computer version of old-fashioned crime scene investigation, with fingerprints, bullet casings and DNA swabs replaced by an electronic trail that can be just as incriminating. And just as police detectives learn to identify the telltale methods of a veteran burglar, so CrowdStrike investigators recognized the distinctive handiwork of Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.

Those are CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

It was Cozy Bear, CrowdStrike concluded, that first penetrated the D.N.C. in the summer of 2015, by sending spear-phishing emails to a long list of American government agencies, Washington nonprofits and government contractors. Whenever someone clicked on a phishing message, the Russians would enter the network, “exfiltrate” documents of interest and stockpile them for intelligence purposes.

“Once they got into the D.N.C., they found the data valuable and decided to continue the operation,” said Mr. Alperovitch, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States as a teenager.

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

Attribution, as the skill of identifying a cyberattacker is known, is more art than science. It is often impossible to name an attacker with absolute certainty. But over time, by accumulating a reference library of hacking techniques and targets, it is possible to spot repeat offenders. Fancy Bear, for instance, has gone after military and political targets in Ukraine and Georgia, and at NATO installations.

That largely rules out cybercriminals and most countries, Mr. Alperovitch said. “There’s no plausible actor that has an interest in all those victims other than Russia,” he said. Another clue: The Russian hacking groups tended to be active during working hours in the Moscow time zone.

To their astonishment, Mr. Alperovitch said, CrowdStrike experts found signs that the two Russian hacking groups had not coordinated their attacks. Fancy Bear, apparently not knowing that Cozy Bear had been rummaging in D.N.C. files for months, took many of the same documents.

In the six weeks after CrowdStrike’s arrival, in total secrecy, the computer system at the D.N.C. was replaced. For a weekend, email and phones were shut off; employees were told it was a system upgrade. All laptops were turned in and the hard drives wiped clean, with the uninfected information on them imaged to new drives.

Though D.N.C. officials had learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had been infected, too, they did not notify their sister organization, which was in the same building, because they were afraid that it would leak.

All of this work took place as the bitter contest for the Democratic nomination continued to play out between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders, and it was already causing a major distraction for Ms. Wasserman Schultz and the D.N.C.’s chief executive.

“This was not a bump in the road — bumps in the road happen all the time,” she said in an interview. “Two different Russian spy agencies had hacked into our network and stolen our property. And we did not yet know what they had taken. But we knew they had very broad access to our network. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And it was chilling.”

The D.N.C. executives and their lawyer had their first formal meeting with senior F.B.I. officials in mid-June, nine months after the bureau’s first call to the tech-support contractor. Among the early requests at that meeting, according to participants: that the federal government make a quick “attribution” formally blaming actors with ties to Russian government for the attack to make clear that it was not routine hacking but foreign espionage.

“You have a presidential election underway here and you know that the Russians have hacked into the D.N.C.,” Mr. Sussmann said, recalling the message to the F.B.I. “We need to tell the American public that. And soon.”

The Media’s Role

In mid-June, on Mr. Sussmann’s advice, D.N.C. leaders decided to take a bold step. Concerned that word of the hacking might leak, they decided to go public in The Washington Post with the news that the committee had been attacked. That way, they figured, they could get ahead of the story, win a little sympathy from voters for being victimized by Russian hackers and refocus on the campaign.

But the very next day, a new, deeply unsettling shock awaited them. Someone calling himself Guccifer 2.0 appeared on the web, claiming to be the D.N.C. hacker — and he posted a confidential committee document detailing Mr. Trump’s record and half a dozen other documents to prove his bona fides.

Donald Trump Report
Democratic National Committee
Submitted: 12/19/15

GUCCIFER 2.0 @GUCCIFER_2
#Guccifer2 #DNC’s servers hacked by a lone hacker. #Trump report https://guccifer2.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/dnc/
9:51 AM - 20 Jun 2016


“And it’s just a tiny part of all docs I downloaded from the Democrats networks,” he wrote. Then something more ominous: “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks. They will publish them soon.”

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

Guccifer 2.0 borrowed the moniker of an earlier hacker, a Romanian who called himself Guccifer and was jailed for breaking into the personal computers of former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other notables. This new attacker seemed intent on showing that the D.N.C.’s cyberexperts at CrowdStrike were wrong to blame Russia. Guccifer 2.0 called himself a “lone hacker” and mocked CrowdStrike for calling the attackers “sophisticated.”

But online investigators quickly undercut his story. On a whim, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a writer for Motherboard, the tech and culture site of Vice, tried to contact Guccifer 2.0 by direct message on Twitter.

“Surprisingly, he answered right away,” Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai said. But whoever was on the other end seemed to be mocking him. “I asked him why he did it, and he said he wanted to expose the Illuminati. He called himself a Gucci lover. And he said he was Romanian.”

That gave Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai an idea. Using Google Translate, he sent the purported hacker some questions in Romanian. The answers came back in Romanian. But when he was offline, Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai checked with a couple of native speakers, who told him Guccifer 2.0 had apparently been using Google Translate as well — and was clearly not the Romanian he claimed to be.

Cyberresearchers found other clues pointing to Russia. Microsoft Word documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 had been edited by someone calling himself, in Russian, Felix Edmundovich — an obvious nom de guerre honoring the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Bad links in the texts were marked by warnings in Russian, generated by what was clearly a Russian-language version of Word.

When Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai managed to engage Guccifer 2.0 over a period of weeks, he found that his interlocutor’s tone and manner changed. “At first he was careless and colloquial. Weeks later, he was curt and more calculating,” he said. “It seemed like a group of people, and a very sloppy attempt to cover up.”

Computer experts drew the same conclusion about DCLeaks.com, a site that sprang up in June, claiming to be the work of “hacktivists” but posting more stolen documents. It, too, seemed to be a clumsy front for the same Russians who had stolen the documents. Notably, the website was registered in April, suggesting that the Russian hacking team planned well in advance to make public what it stole.

In addition to what Guccifer 2.0 published on his site, he provided material directly on request to some bloggers and publications. The steady flow of Guccifer 2.0 documents constantly undercut Democratic messaging efforts. On July 6, 12 days before the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, Guccifer released the D.N.C.’s battle plan and budget for countering it. For Republican operatives, it was insider gold.

Then WikiLeaks, a far more established outlet, began to publish the hacked material — just as Guccifer 2.0 had promised. On July 22, three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks dumped out 44,053 D.N.C. emails with 17,761 attachments. Some of the messages made clear that some D.N.C. officials favored Mrs. Clinton over her progressive challenger, Mr. Sanders.

That was no shock; Mr. Sanders, after all, had been an independent socialist, not a Democrat, during his long career in Congress, while Mrs. Clinton had been one of the party’s stars for decades. But the emails, some of them crude or insulting, infuriated Sanders delegates as they arrived in Philadelphia. Ms. Wasserman Schultz resigned under pressure on the eve of the convention where she had planned to preside.

Mr. Trump, by now the Republican nominee, expressed delight at the continuing jolts to his opponent, and he began to use Twitter and his stump speeches to highlight the WikiLeaks releases. On July 25, he sent out a lighthearted tweet: “The new joke in town,” he wrote, “is that Russia leaked the disastrous D.N.C. e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

But WikiLeaks was far from finished. On Oct. 7, a month before the election, the site began the serial publication of thousands of private emails to and from Mr. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager.

The same day, the United States formally accused the Russian government of being behind the hackings, in a joint statement by the director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, and Mr. Trump suffered his worst blow to date, with the release of a recording in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.

The Podesta emails were nowhere near as sensational as the Trump video. But, released by WikiLeaks day after day over the last month of the campaign, they provided material for countless news reports. They disclosed the contents of Mrs. Clinton’s speeches to large banks, which she had refused to release. They exposed tensions inside the campaign, including disagreements over donations to the Clinton Foundation that staff members thought might look bad for the candidate and Ms. Tanden’s complaint that Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were “suboptimal.”

“I was just mortified,” Ms. Tanden said in an interview. Her emails were released on the eve of one of the presidential debates, she recalled. “I put my hands over my head and said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’” Though she had regularly appeared on television to support Mrs. Clinton, she canceled her appearances because all the questions were about what she had said in the emails.

Ms. Tanden, like other Democrats whose messages became public, said it was obvious to her that WikiLeaks was trying its best to damage the Clinton campaign. “If you care about transparency, you put all the emails out at once,” she said. “But they wanted to hurt her. So they put them out 1,800 to 3,000 a day.”

The Trump campaign knew in advance about WikiLeaks’ plans. Days before the Podesta email release began, Roger Stone, a Republican operative working with the Trump campaign, sent out an excited tweet about what was coming.

Roger Stone @RogerJStoneJr
Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.
9:52 PM - 1 Oct 2016


But in an interview, Mr. Stone said he had no role in the leaks; he had just heard from an American with ties to WikiLeaks that damning emails were coming.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

In a series of email exchanges, Mr. Assange refused to say anything about WikiLeaks’ source for the hacked material. He denied that he had made his animus toward Mrs. Clinton clear in public statements (“False. But what is this? Junior high?”) or that the site had timed the releases for maximum negative effect on her campaign. “WikiLeaks makes its decisions based on newsworthiness, including for its recent epic scoops,” he wrote.

Mr. Assange disputed the conclusion of the Oct. 7 statement from the intelligence agencies that the leaks were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

“This is false,” he wrote. “As the disclosing party we know that this was not the intent. Publishers publishing newsworthy information during an election is part of a free election.”

But asked whether he believed the leaks were one reason for Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Assange seemed happy to take credit. “Americans extensively engaged with our publications,” he wrote. “According to Facebook statistics WikiLeaks was the most referenced political topic during October.”

Though Mr. Assange did not say so, WikiLeaks’ best defense may be the conduct of the mainstream American media. Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

“What was really surprising to me?” Ms. Tanden said. “I could not believe that reporters were covering it.”

Devising a Government Response

Inside the White House, as Mr. Obama’s advisers debated their response, their conversation turned to North Korea.

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

But a formal “attribution report” still had not been forwarded to the president.

“It took forever,” one senior administration official said, complaining about the pace at which the intelligence assessments moved through the system.

In August a group that called itself the “Shadow Brokers” published a set of software tools that looked like what the N.S.A. uses to break into foreign computer networks and install “implants,” malware that can be used for surveillance or attack. The code came from the Tailored Access Operations unit of the N.S.A., a secretive group that mastered the arts of surveillance and cyberwar.

The assumption — still unproved — was that the code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

The N.S.A. said nothing. But by late August, Admiral Rogers, its director, was pressing for a more muscular response to the Russians. In his role as director of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, he proposed a series of potential counter-cyberstrikes.

While officials will not discuss them in detail, the possible counterstrikes reportedly included operations that would turn the tables on Mr. Putin, exposing his financial links to Russia’s oligarchs, and punching holes in the Russian internet to allow dissidents to get their message out. Pentagon officials judged the measures too unsubtle and ordered up their own set of options.

But in the end, none of those were formally presented to the president.

In a series of “deputies meetings” run by Avril Haines, the deputy national security adviser and a former deputy director of the C.I.A., several officials warned that an overreaction by the administration would play into Mr. Putin’s hands.

“If we went to Defcon 4,” one frequent participant in Ms. Haines’s meetings said, using a phrase from the Cold War days of warnings of war, “we would be saying to the public that we didn’t have confidence in the integrity of our voting system.”

Even something seemingly straightforward — using the president’s executive powers, bolstered after the Sony incident, to place economic and travel sanctions on cyberattackers — seemed too risky.

“No one was all that eager to impose costs before Election Day,” said another participant in the classified meeting. “Any retaliatory measures were seen through the prism of what would happen on Election Day.”

Instead, when Mr. Obama’s national security team reconvened after summer vacation, the focus turned to a crash effort to secure the nation’s voting machines and voter-registration rolls from hacking. The scenario they discussed most frequently — one that turned out not to be an issue — was a narrow vote in favor of Mrs. Clinton, followed by a declaration by Mr. Trump that the vote was “rigged” and more leaks intended to undercut her legitimacy.

Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the D.N.C., became increasingly frustrated as the clock continued to run down on the presidential election — and still there was no broad public condemnation by the White House, or Republican Party leaders, of the attack as an act of foreign espionage.

Ms. Brazile even reached out to Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, urging him twice in private conversations and in a letter to join her in condemning the attacks — an offer he declined to take up.

“We just kept hearing the government would respond, the government would respond,” she said. “Once upon a time, if a foreign government interfered with our election we would respond as a nation, not as a political party.”

But Mr. Obama did decide that he would deliver a warning to Mr. Putin in person at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China, the last time they would be in the same place while Mr. Obama was still in office. When the two men met for a tense pull-aside, Mr. Obama explicitly warned Mr. Putin of a strong American response if there was continued effort to influence the election or manipulate the vote, according to White House officials who were not present for the one-on-one meeting.

Later that day, Mr. Obama made a rare reference to America’s own offensive cybercapacity, which he has almost never talked about. “Frankly, both offensively and defensively, we have more capacity,” he told reporters.

But when it came time to make a public assertion of Russia’s role in early October, it was made in a written statement from the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security. It was far less dramatic than the president’s appearance in the press room two years before to directly accuse the North Koreans of attacking Sony.

The reference in the statement to hackings on “political organizations,” officials now say, encompassed a hacking on data stored by the Republicans as well. Two senior officials say the forensic evidence was accompanied by “human and technical” sources in Russia, which appears to mean that the United States’ implants or taps in Russian computer and phone networks helped confirm the country’s role.

But that may not be known for decades, until the secrets are declassified.

A week later Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sent out to transmit a public warning to Mr. Putin: The United States will retaliate “at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”

Later, after Mr. Biden said he was not concerned that Russia could “fundamentally alter the election,” he was asked whether the American public would know if the message to Mr. Putin had been sent.

“Hope not,” Mr. Biden responded.

Some of his former colleagues think that was the wrong answer. An American counterstrike, said Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A. under Mr. Obama, has “got to be overt. It needs to be seen.”

A covert response would significantly limit the deterrence effect, he added. “If you can’t see it, it’s not going to deter the Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and others.”

The Obama administration says it still has more than 30 days to do exactly that.

The Next Target

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.”

But Russia has by no means forgotten its American target. On the day after the presidential election, the cybersecurity company Volexity reported five new waves of phishing emails, evidently from Cozy Bear, aimed at think tanks and nonprofits in the United States.

One of them purported to be from Harvard University, attaching a fake paper. Its title: “Why American Elections Are Flawed.”

Correction: December 13, 2016
Editors’ Note: An earlier version of the main photograph with this article, of a filing cabinet and computer at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, should not have been published. The photographer had removed a framed image from the wall over the filing cabinet — showing a Washington Post Watergate front page — because it was causing glare with the lighting. The new version shows the scene as it normally appears, with the framed newspaper page in place.


Kitty Bennett contributed research.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:58 pm

Beating or Driving
by Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
December 5, 1874

Image
THE PLEASURES OF SHOOTING.
AFTER LUNCHEON THE "BEATING" IS A LITTLE WILD.
[Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger]


Beating or Driving. – – In some forests it may be advisable to beat for large game, and I have often made large bags by taking my station at the head of a ravine, and making the line of beaters drive the animals towards me. Previous to beating, the ground should be reconnoitred, and a good deal of judgment is required in selecting a position that commands the different runs up which the animals may come, and it is absolutely necessary to maintain the strictest silence, and remain as much as possible concealed. It is very unadvisable on these occasions to fire random shots, at very long ranges, as the chances are that the report of your rifle may prevent other game from coming near you, and you lose a fair chance. Great care must be taken, also, not to fire in the direction of the beaters.

The most certain information as to the presence of tigers, or indeed any of the feline race, is given by monkeys, who directly be stirs given their well-known cry of alarm, as a warning to the unwary, and continue making a harsh shrieking noise as long as he remains in sight. The peculiarly discordant cry of the kola balloo, or solitary jackal, also frequently betrays his whereabouts, as this animal, who, from old age or infirmities, is incapacitated from hunting with his fellows, lives upon what the tiger leaves, and gives notice to his master of any stray cattle that might serve him as a meal.

In central India, where trained elephants are tolerably numerous, the dense covers are beaten with a line of elephants, and many tigers are thus brought to bag, the sportsman being either mounted in howdahs on elephants or posted on some elevated ground, towards which the game is driven. A good steady khakar elephant costs about 300 pounds to buy in the first instance and about 80 rupees a month to keep, so that very few military men possess them; consequently coolies hired by the day are generally employed as beaters, every other man in the line having a fire arm of some kind, or a tom-tom.

The line of beaters, keeping up a perpetual noise, rouse the tiger from his lair and drive him past the ambuscades, behind which the sportsman lay hidden. When it is possible, elevated grounds should be selected for these posts, which command an extensive view of the country roundabout, and watchers should be posted in trees round about the lair to signalize when the animal breaks, and which direction he is making for. These must keep a careful watch, for a tiger that has been hunted before grows very cunning, and when alarmed, instead of breaking boldly forth, skulks from bush to bush and creeps along very close to the ground, taking advantage of every patch of cover that lies in his way. Sometimes when the bush is very thick, and he lies close, it is advisable to use rockets to scare him, and make him break into the open.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:01 pm

The king's beaters: Hunts and beaters
by http://en.parcoalpimarittime.it/

How did the kings of the House of Savoy hunt? Simple: minimum effort and maximum effect. These were guaranteed by the technique of "beating", where the game (chamois or ibex) was surrounded and pushed forward to an agreed place. The animals were flushed out by the batteurs, the beaters and forced to converge on the hunting hides, where the sovereigns were waiting with their guns ready to open fire.

The beaters, were chosen among the stronger people in the valley and Alpine soldiers on leave. If the hunt itself was to start at daybreak, the beaters' work started at night: they were divided into groups led by a gamekeeper, they climbed to the passes and peaks above the hunters. At the agreed time, like a procession of noisy ants, the beaters came down shouting and firing in the air, to flush the animals out and make them converge on the nobles waiting lower down.

In fact this "beating from above" soon turned out to be inefficient and was replaced by "beating from below". Chamois by nature tend to flee uphill in the face of danger, and in doing this many animals managed to breech the line of beaters effectively escaping the royal bullets. So it was decided to move the hides higher up the mountains and force the chamois up: this way seeking a way out they were running towards the king's guns.

The beaters' task hid insidious perils. Many documents describe hunting in foul weather, rain, snow, wind or poor visibility. The risk of falling, getting lost or hypothermia were everyday hazards, not to mention falling stones dislodged by the runaway herds of animals. In the last twelve years hunting, from 1901 to 1913, three beaters lost their lives and two more were slightly wounded.

In Umberto I's reign, the number of beaters employed per season varied between 120 and 300, according to the number of hunts organised and the area to beat at each drive. They received ten lire per day, around fifty lire per year, excluding the occasions when king Umberto chose to give them double pay for their services. With Vittorio Emanuele III the number of beaters increased considerably: from 1907 for every beat there were 300-350 people. In the summer of 1906 Vittorio Emanuele III took the record for the number of animals bagged: over 400 in a single season!

In 1914 with the end of the chamois hunts the role of beater quickly disappeared. Many in the valley saw an important source of income disappear, as did the labourers working on the yearly upkeep of paths and the traders in the valley, who supplied material and equipment to the royal household: it was the sun setting on a small hunting world.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:37 am

US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’
by Robert Parry
January 7, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Exclusive: Despite mainstream media acceptance, the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment on alleged Russian “hacking” still lacks hard public evidence, a case of “trust-us” by politicized spy agencies, writes Robert Parry.

Repeating an accusation over and over again is not evidence that the accused is guilty, no matter how much “confidence” the accuser asserts about the conclusion. Nor is it evidence just to suggest that someone has a motive for doing something. Many conspiracy theories are built on the notion of “cui bono” – who benefits – without following up the supposed motive with facts.

But that is essentially what the U.S. intelligence community has done regarding the dangerous accusation that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a covert information campaign to influence the outcome of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

Just a day after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper vowed to go to the greatest possible lengths to supply the public with the evidence behind the accusations, his office released a 25-page report that contained no direct evidence that Russia delivered hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks.

The DNI report amounted to a compendium of reasons to suspect that Russia was the source of the information – built largely on the argument that Russia had a motive for doing so because of its disdain for Democratic nominee Clinton and the potential for friendlier relations with Republican nominee Trump.

But the case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses” – as in the U.S. intelligence community “assesses” that Russia is guilty – suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.”

The DNI report admits as much, saying, “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary,
as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

But the report’s assessment is more than just a reasonable judgment based on a body of incomplete information. It is tendentious in that it only lays out the case for believing in Russia’s guilt, not reasons for doubting that guilt.

A Risky Bet

For instance, while it is true that many Russian officials, including President Putin, considered Clinton to be a threat to worsen the already frayed relationship between the two nuclear superpowers, the report ignores the downside for Russia trying to interfere with the U.S. election campaign and then failing to stop Clinton, which looked like the most likely outcome until Election Night.

If Russia had accessed the DNC and Podesta emails and slipped them to WikiLeaks for publication, Putin would have to think that the National Security Agency, with its exceptional ability to track electronic communications around the world, might well have detected the maneuver and would have informed Clinton.

So, on top of Clinton’s well-known hawkishness, Putin would have risked handing the expected incoming president a personal reason to take revenge on him and his country. Historically, Russia has been very circumspect in such situations, usually holding its intelligence collections for internal purposes only, not sharing them with the public.


While it is conceivable that Putin decided to take this extraordinary risk in this case – despite the widely held view that Clinton was a shoo-in to defeat Trump – an objective report would have examined this counter argument for him not doing so.

But the DNI report was not driven by a desire to be evenhanded; it is, in effect, a prosecutor’s brief, albeit one that lacks any real evidence that the accused is guilty.

Further undercutting the credibility of the DNI report is that it includes a seven-page appendix, dating from 2012, that is an argumentative attack on RT, the Russian government-backed television network, which is accused of portraying “the US electoral process as undemocratic.”

The proof for that accusation includes RT’s articles on “voting machine vulnerabilities” although virtually every major U.S. news organizations has run similar stories, including some during the last campaign on the feasibility of Russia hacking into the actual voting process, something that even U.S. intelligence says didn’t happen.

The reports adds that further undermining Americans’ faith in the U.S. democratic process, “RT broadcast, hosted and advertised third-party candidate debates.” Apparently, the DNI’s point is that showing Americans that there are choices beyond the two big parties is somehow seditious.

“The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham,’” the report said. Yet, polls have shown that large numbers of Americans would prefer more choices than the usual two candidates and, indeed, most Western democracies have multiple parties. So, the implicit RT criticism of the U.S. political process is certainly not out of the ordinary.

The report also takes RT to task for covering the Occupy Wall Street movement and for reporting on the environmental dangers from “fracking,” topics cited as further proof that the Russian government was using RT to weaken U.S. public support for Washington’s policies (although, again, these are topics of genuine public interest).

Behind the Curtain

Though it’s impossible for an average U.S. citizen to know precisely what the U.S. intelligence community may have in its secret files, some former NSA officials who are familiar with the agency’s eavesdropping capabilities say Washington’s lack of certainty suggests that the NSA does not possess such evidence.

For instance, that’s the view of William Binney, who retired as NSA’s technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and who created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

Binney, in an article co-written with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, said, “With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on ‘circumstantial evidence,’ when it has NSA’s vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA’s capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking.”

There is also the fact that both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and one of his associates, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, have denied that the purloined emails came from the Russian government. Going further, Murray has suggested that there were two separate sources, the DNC material coming from a disgruntled Democrat and the Podesta emails coming from possibly a U.S. intelligence source, since the Podesta Group represents Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments.

In response, Clapper and other U.S. government officials have sought to disparage Assange’s credibility, including Clapper’s Senate testimony on Thursday gratuitously alluding to sexual assault allegations against Assange in Sweden.

However, Clapper’s own credibility is suspect in a more relevant way. In 2013, he gave false testimony to Congress regarding the extent of the NSA’s collection of data on Americans. Clapper’s deception was revealed only when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the NSA program to the press, causing Clapper to apologize for his “clearly erroneous” testimony.

A History of Politicization

The U.S. intelligence community’s handling of the Russian “hack” story also must be viewed in the historical context of the CIA’s “politicization” over the past several decades.

Image
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

U.S. intelligence analysts, such as senior Russia expert Melvin A. Goodman, have described in detail both in books and in congressional testimony how the old tradition of objective CIA analysis was broken down in the 1980s.

At the time, the Reagan administration wanted to justify a massive arms buildup, so CIA Director William Casey and his pliant deputy, Robert Gates, oversaw the creation of inflammatory assessments on Soviet intentions and Moscow’s alleged role in international terrorism, including the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

Besides representing “politicized” intelligence at its worst, these analyses became the bureaucratic battleground on which old-line analysts who still insisted on presenting the facts to the president whether he liked them or not were routed and replaced by a new generation of yes men.

The relevant point is that the U.S. intelligence community has never been repaired, in part because the yes men gave presidents of both parties what they wanted. Rather than challenging a president’s policies, this new generation mostly fashioned their reports to support those policies.



Head of PA IVANOV laments Russian intervention in US presidential election and black PR against CLINTON and the DNC. Vows not to supply intelligence to Kremlin PR operatives again. Advocates now sitting tight and denying everything.

***

Premier MEDVEDEV's office furious over DNC hacking and associated anti-Russian publicity. Want good relations with US and ability to travel there. Refusing to support or help cover up after PESKOV.

***

According to the first source, close to IVANOV, there had been talk in the Kremlin of TRUMP being forced to withdraw from the presidential race altogether as a result of recent events, ostensibly on grounds of his psychological state and unsuitability for high office.

***

Republican campaign underestimated resulting negative reaction from US liberals, elite and media and forced to change course as result.

***

Buyer's remorse sets in with Kremlin over TRUMP support operation in US presidential election. Russian leadership disappointed that leaked e-malls on CLINTON have not had greater impact in campaign.

***

PUTIN was angry at his subordinate's "over-promising" on the Republican presidential candidate, both in terms of his chances and reliability and being able to cover and/or contain the US backlash over Kremlin interference. More heads therefore were likely to roll, with the MFA the easiest target.

-- US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP'S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN, by Christopher Steele


The bipartisan nature of this corruption is best illustrated by the role played by CIA Director George Tenet, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton but stayed on and helped President George W. Bush arrange his “slam dunk” case for convincing the American people that Iraq possessed caches of WMD, thus justifying Bush’s 2003 invasion.

Here he was at the core. Like Dorothy, he had looked behind the curtain and seen the true "Wizard."

Here was what seemed a strange alliance. A state run by Democrats in bed with a Republican administration in Washington, and both conspiring to evade Congress' prohibition against aiding or abetting the Contras. It was so steeped with hypocrisy.

Was the CIA the invisible force that had the power to compromise these political pillars of the nation?

Were these same invisible forces orbiting only in Arkansas or throughout the nation? He wondered. But why limit it to the nation? Perhaps the world functioned under one control. Could that control be the CIA? Was there a secret alliance of agents worldwide who operate as they please?

Religion, he had come to realize, was a form of social control. Was politics as well? Was it just a game like professional sports, simply to divert public attention from what was really happening? Was it all just a placebo?

-- Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA: How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA, by Terry Reed & John Cummings


There was the one notable case of intelligence analysts standing up to Bush in a 2007 assessment that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program, but that was more an anomaly – resulting from the acute embarrassment over the Iraq WMD fiasco – than a change in pattern.

Presidents of both parties have learned that it makes their lives easier if the U.S. intelligence community is generating “intelligence” that supports what they want to do, rather than letting the facts get in the way.

The current case of the alleged Russian “hack” should be viewed in this context: President Obama considers Trump’s election a threat to his policies, both foreign and domestic. So, it’s only logical that Obama would want to weaken and discredit Trump before he takes office.


That doesn’t mean that the Russians are innocent, but it does justify a healthy dose of skepticism to the assessments by Obama’s senior intelligence officials.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:30 am

Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution
by Office of the Director of National Intelligence
6 January 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.

• The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.
• Thus, while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods.

The Analytic Process

The mission of the Intelligence Community is to seek to reduce the uncertainty surrounding foreign activities, capabilities, or leaders’ intentions. This objective is difficult to achieve when seeking to understand complex issues on which foreign actors go to extraordinary lengths to hide or obfuscate their activities.

• On these issues of great importance to US national security, the goal of intelligence analysis is to provide assessments to decisionmakers that are intellectually rigorous, objective, timely, and useful, and that adhere to tradecraft standards.
• The tradecraft standards for analytic products have been refined over the past ten years. These standards include describing sources (including their reliability and access to the information they provide), clearly expressing uncertainty, distinguishing between underlying information and analysts’ judgments and assumptions, exploring alternatives, demonstrating relevance to the customer, using strong and transparent logic, and explaining change or consistency in judgments over time.
• Applying these standards helps ensure that the Intelligence Community provides US policymakers, warfighters, and operators with the best and most accurate insight, warning, and context, as well as potential opportunities to advance US national security.

Intelligence Community analysts integrate information from a wide range of sources, including human sources, technical collection, and open source information, and apply specialized skills and structured analytic tools to draw inferences informed by the data available, relevant past activity, and logic and reasoning to provide insight into what is happening and the prospects for the future.

• A critical part of the analyst’s task is to explain uncertainties associated with major judgments based on the quantity and quality of the source material, information gaps, and the complexity of the issue.
• When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as “we assess” or “we judge,” they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment.
• Some analytic judgments are based directly on collected information; others rest on previous judgments, which serve as building blocks in rigorous analysis. In either type of judgment, the tradecraft standards outlined above ensure that analysts have an appropriate basis for the judgment.
• Intelligence Community judgments often include two important elements: judgments of how likely it is that something has happened or will happen (using terms such as “likely” or “unlikely”) and confidence levels in those judgments (low, moderate, and high) that refer to the evidentiary basis, logic and reasoning, and precedents that underpin the judgments.

Determining Attribution in Cyber Incidents

The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation—malicious or not—leaves a trail. US Intelligence Community analysts use this information, their constantly growing knowledge base of previous events and known malicious actors, and their knowledge of how these malicious actors work and the tools that they use, to attempt to trace these operations back to their source. In every case, they apply the same tradecraft standards described in the Analytic Process above.

• Analysts consider a series of questions to assess how the information compares with existing knowledge and adjust their confidence in their judgments as appropriate to account for any alternative hypotheses and ambiguities.
• An assessment of attribution usually is not a simple statement of who conducted an operation, but rather a series of judgments that describe whether it was an isolated incident, who was the likely perpetrator, that perpetrator’s possible motivations, and whether a foreign government had a role in ordering or leading the operation.

This report is a downgraded version of a more sensitive assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the more sensitive assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.

TOP SECRET//HCS-P/SI-G//ORCON/NOFORN/FISA

This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections

ICA 2017-01D | 6 January 2017

This page intentionally left blank.

Scope and Sourcing

Information available as of 29 December 2016 was used in the preparation of this product.

Scope

This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies. It covers the motivation and scope of Moscow’s intentions regarding US elections and Moscow’s use of cyber tools and media campaigns to influence US public opinion. The assessment focuses on activities aimed at the 2016 US presidential election and draws on our understanding of previous Russian influence operations. When we use the term “we” it refers to an assessment by all three agencies.

• This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document’s conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow.

We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.

• New information continues to emerge, providing increased insight into Russian activities.

Sourcing

Many of the key judgments in this assessment rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior. Insights into Russian efforts—including specific cyber operations—and Russian views of key US players derive from multiple corroborating sources.

Some of our judgments about Kremlin preferences and intent are drawn from the behavior of Kremlin-loyal political figures, state media, and pro-Kremlin social media actors, all of whom the Kremlin either directly uses to convey messages or who are answerable to the Kremlin. The Russian leadership invests significant resources in both foreign and domestic propaganda and places a premium on transmitting what it views as consistent, self-reinforcing narratives regarding its desires and redlines, whether on Ukraine, Syria, or relations with the United States.

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections
ICA 2017-01D

6 January 2017

Key Judgments

Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.

Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.

• Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.
• We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.

• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.
• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.

We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

Contents

• Scope and Sourcing
• Key Judgments
• Contents
• CIA/FBI/NSA Assessment: Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election
o Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election
o Russian Campaign Was Multifaceted
o Influence Effort Was Boldest Yet in the US
o Election Operation Signals “New Normal” in Russian Influence Efforts
• Annexes
o A: Russia—Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US
o B: Estimative Language

Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election

Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election


We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency.

• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• In trying to influence the US election, we assess the Kremlin sought to advance its longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, the promotion of which Putin and other senior Russian leaders view as a threat to Russia and Putin’s regime.
Putin publicly pointed to the Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as US-directed efforts to defame Russia, suggesting he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the United States and cast it as hypocritical.
• Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.


We assess Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton.

Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States. Nonetheless, Putin publicly indicated a preference for President-elect Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia, and pro-Kremlin figures spoke highly about what they saw as his Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine. Putin publicly contrasted the President-elect’s approach to Russia with Secretary Clinton’s “aggressive rhetoric.”
• Moscow also saw the election of President-elect Trump as a way to achieve an international counterterrorism coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

• Putin has had many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Putin, Russian officials, and other pro-Kremlin pundits stopped publicly criticizing the US election process as unfair almost immediately after the election because Moscow probably assessed it would be counterproductive to building positive relations.

We assess the influence campaign aspired to help President-elect Trump’s chances of victory when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to the President-elect. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the presidency the Russian influence campaign focused more on undercutting Secretary Clinton’s legitimacy and crippling her presidency from its start, including by impugning the fairness of the election.

• Before the election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results. Pro-Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity.

Russian Campaign Was Multifaceted

Moscow’s use of disclosures during the US election was unprecedented, but its influence campaign otherwise followed a longstanding Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”

• We assess that influence campaigns are approved at the highest levels of the Russian Government—particularly those that would be politically sensitive.
• Moscow’s campaign aimed at the US election reflected years of investment in its capabilities, which Moscow has honed in the former Soviet states.
By their nature, Russian influence campaigns are multifaceted and designed to be deniable because they use a mix of agents of influence, cutouts, front organizations, and false-flag operations. Moscow demonstrated this during the Ukraine crisis in 2014, when Russia deployed forces and advisers to eastern Ukraine and denied it publicly.

The Kremlin’s campaign aimed at the US election featured disclosures of data obtained through Russian cyber operations; intrusions into US state and local electoral boards; and overt propaganda. Russian intelligence collection both informed and enabled the influence campaign.

Cyber Espionage Against US Political Organizations.

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.

We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies. In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.

• The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC.


Public Disclosures of Russian-Collected Data.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

• Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.
• Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.

• In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement.
The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks. RT’s editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become "the only Russian media company" to partner with WikiLeaks and had received access to "new leaks of secret information." RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to denounce the United States.

These election-related disclosures reflect a pattern of Russian intelligence using hacked information in targeted influence efforts against targets such as Olympic athletes and other foreign governments. Such efforts have included releasing or altering personal data, defacing websites, or releasing e-mails.

• A prominent target since the 2016 Summer Olympics has been the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with leaks that we assess to have originated with the GRU and that have involved data on US athletes.

Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.

Russian Cyber Intrusions Into State and Local Electoral Boards.

Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment.

DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.

Russian Propaganda Efforts.

Russia’s state-run propaganda machine—comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls—contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.

• Starting in March 2016, Russian Government–linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.
• Russian media hailed President-elect Trump’s victory as a vindication of Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements—the theme of Putin’s annual conference for Western academics in October 2016—and the latest example of Western liberalism’s collapse.
• Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev used his flagship weekly newsmagazine program this fall to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment and faulty democratic election process that aimed to prevent his election because of his desire to work with Moscow.
• Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would “drink champagne” in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine.

RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton’s election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia.


For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required.

In what is likely to be its most significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flank—one each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a “tripwire,” thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed, will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war.

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe.

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. “Today’s security environment is dramatically different than the one we’ve been engaged in for the last 25 years,” observed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for “a return to great-power competition,” including the possibility of all-out combat with “high-end enemies” like Russia and China.

-- The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia. Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.,by Michael T. Klare


• In August, Kremlin-linked political analysts suggested avenging negative Western reports on Putin by airing segments devoted to Secretary Clinton’s alleged health problems.
• On 6 August, RT published an English-language video called “Julian Assange Special: Do WikiLeaks Have the E-mail That’ll Put Clinton in Prison?” and an exclusive interview with Assange entitled “Clinton and ISIS Funded by the Same Money.” RT’s most popular video on Secretary Clinton, “How 100% of the Clintons’ ‘Charity’ Went to…Themselves,” had more than 9 million views on social media platforms. RT’s most popular English language video about the President-elect, called “Trump Will Not Be Permitted To Win,” featured Assange and had 2.2 million views.
• For more on Russia’s past media efforts—including portraying the 2012 US electoral process as undemocratic—please see Annex A: Russia—Kremlin's TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.

Russia used trolls as well as RT as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton. This effort amplified stories on scandals about Secretary Clinton and the role of WikiLeaks in the election campaign.

• The likely financier of the so-called Internet Research Agency of professional trolls located in Saint Petersburg is a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.
• A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015.

Influence Effort Was Boldest Yet in the US

Russia’s effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election represented a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations aimed at US elections. We assess the 2016 influence campaign reflected the Kremlin’s recognition of the worldwide effects that mass disclosures of US Government and other private data—such as those conducted by WikiLeaks and others—have achieved in recent years, and their understanding of the value of orchestrating such disclosures to maximize the impact of compromising information.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used intelligence officers, influence agents, forgeries, and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin, according to a former KGB archivist.

Since the Cold War, Russian intelligence efforts related to US elections have primarily focused on foreign intelligence collection. For decades, Russian and Soviet intelligence services have sought to collect insider information from US political parties that could help Russian leaders understand a new US administration’s plans and priorities.

• The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Directorate S (Illegals) officers arrested in the United States in 2010 reported to Moscow about the 2008 election.
In the 1970s, the KGB recruited a Democratic Party activist who reported information about then-presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter’s campaign and foreign policy plans, according to a former KGB archivist.

Election Operation Signals “New Normal” in Russian Influence Efforts

We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts in the United States and worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. We assess the Russian intelligence services would have seen their election influence campaign as at least a qualified success because of their perceived ability to impact public discussion.

• Putin’s public views of the disclosures suggest the Kremlin and the intelligence services will continue to consider using cyber-enabled disclosure operations because of their belief that these can accomplish Russian goals relatively easily without significant damage to Russian interests.
Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe.

We assess Russian intelligence services will continue to develop capabilities to provide Putin with options to use against the United States, judging from past practice and current efforts. Immediately after Election Day, we assess Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting US Government employees and individuals associated with US think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense, and foreign policy fields. This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans.

Annex A

Russia -- Kremlin's TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US* [* This annex was originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center, now the Open Source Enterprise.]

RT America TV, a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties. The rapid expansion of RT's operations and budget and recent candid statements by RT's leadership point to the channel's importance to the Kremlin as a messaging tool and indicate a Kremlin-directed campaign to undermine faith in the US Government and fuel political protest. The Kremlin has committed significant resources to expanding the channel's reach, particularly its social media footprint. A reliable UK report states that RT recently was the most-watched foreign news channel in the UK. RT America has positioned itself as a domestic US channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian Government.

In the runup to the 2012 US presidential election in November, English-language channel RT America -- created and financed by the Russian Government and part of Russian Government-sponsored RT TV (see textbox 1) -- intensified its usually critical coverage of the United States. The channel portrayed the US electoral process as undemocratic and featured calls by US protesters for the public to rise up and "take this government back."

• RT introduced two new shows -- "Breaking the Set" on 4 September and "Truthseeker" on 2 November -- both overwhelmingly focused on criticism of US and Western governments as well as the promotion of radical discontent.
• From August to November 2012, RT ran numerous reports on alleged US election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities, contending that US election results cannot be trusted and do not reflect the popular will.
• In an effort to highlight the alleged "lack of democracy" in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a "sham."
RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against "the ruling class" and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations. RT advertising for the documentary featured Occupy movement calls to "take back" the government. The documentary claimed that the US system cannot be changed democratically, but only through "revolution." After the 6 November US presidential election, RT aired a documentary called "Cultures of Protest," about active and often violent political resistance (RT, 1- 10 November).

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Messaging on RT prior to the US presidential election (RT, 3 November)

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RT new show "Truthseeker" (RT, 11 November)

RT Conducts Strategic Messaging for Russian Government

RT's criticism of the US election was the latest facet of its broader and longer-standing anti-US messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers' trust in US democratic procedures and undercutting US criticism of Russia's political system. RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan recently declared that the United States itself lacks democracy and that it has "no moral right to teach the rest of the world" (Kommersant, 6 November).

• Simonyan has characterized RT's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement as "information warfare" that is aimed at promoting popular dissatisfaction with the US Government. RT created a Facebook app to connect Occupy Wall Street protesters via social media. In addition, RT featured its own hosts in Occupy rallies ("Minaev Live," 10 April; RT, 2, 12 June).
RT's reports often characterize the United States as a "surveillance state" and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use (RT, 24, 28 October, 1-10 November).
• RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT's hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and "corporate greed" will lead to US financial collapse (RT, 31 October, 4 November).

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Simonyan steps over the White House in the introduction from her short-lived domestic show on REN TV (REN TV, 26 December 2011)

RT broadcasts support for other Russian interests in areas such as foreign and energy policy.

• RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government's concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom's profitability (5 October).
• RT is a leading media voice opposing Western intervention in the Syrian conflict and blaming the West for waging "information wars" against the Syrian Government (RT, 10 October-9 November).
• In an earlier example of RT's messaging in support of the Russian Government, during the Georgia-Russia military conflict the channel accused Georgians of killing civilians and organizing a genocide of the Ossetian people. According to Simonyan, when "the Ministry of Defense was at war with Georgia," RT was "waging an information war against the entire Western world" (Kommersant, 11 July).

In recent interviews, RT's leadership has candidly acknowledged its mission to expand its US audience and to expose it to Kremlin messaging. However, the leadership rejected claims that RT interferes in US domestic affairs.

• Simonyan claimed in popular arts magazine Afisha on 3 October: "It is important to have a channel that people get used to, and then, when needed, you show them what you need to show. In some sense, not having our own foreign broadcasting is the same as not having a ministry of defense. When there is no war, it looks like we don't need it. However, when there is a war, it is critical."
• According to Simonyan, "the word 'propaganda' has a very negative connotation, but indeed, there is not a single international foreign TV channel that is doing something other than promotion of the values of the country that it is broadcasting from." She added that "when Russia is at war, we are, of course, on Russia's side" (Afisha, 3 October; Kommersant, 4 July).
• TV-Novosti director Nikolov said on 4 October to the Association of Cable Television that RT builds on worldwide demand for "an alternative view of the entire world." Simonyan asserted on 3 October in Afisha that RT's goal is "to make an alternative channel that shares information unavailable elsewhere" in order to "conquer the audience" and expose it to Russian state messaging (Afisha, 3 October; Kommersant, 4 July).
• On 26 May, Simonyan tweeted with irony: "Ambassador McFaul hints that our channel is interference with US domestic affairs. And we, sinful souls, were thinking that it is freedom of speech."

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RT anti-fracking reporting (RT, 5 October)

RT Leadership Closely Tied to, Controlled by Kremlin

RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan has close ties to top Russian Government officials, especially Presidential Administration Deputy Chief of Staff Aleksey Gromov, who reportedly manages political TV coverage in Russia and is one of the founders of RT.

• Simonyan has claimed that Gromov shielded her from other officials and their requests to air certain reports. Russian media consider Simonyan to be Gromov's protege (Kommersant, 4 July; Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Simonyan replaced Gromov on state-owned Channel One's Board of Directors. Government officials, including Gromov and Putin's Press Secretary Peskov were involved in creating RT and appointing Simonyan (Afisha, 3 October).
• According to Simonyan, Gromov oversees political coverage on TV, and he has periodic meetings with media managers where he shares classified information and discusses their coverage plans. Some opposition journalists, including Andrey Loshak, claim that he also ordered media attacks on opposition figures (Kommersant, 11 July).

The Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging because of their ideological beliefs.

• The head of RT's Arabic-language service, Aydar Aganin, was rotated from the diplomatic service to manage RT's Arabic-language expansion, suggesting a close relationship between RT and Russia's foreign policy apparatus. RT's London Bureau is managed by Darya Pushkova, the daughter of Aleksey Pushkov, the current chair of the Duma Russian Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Gorbachev speechwriter(DXB, 26 March 2009; MK.ru, 13 March 2006).
• According to Simonyan, the Russian Government sets rating and viewership requirements for RT and, "since RT receives budget from the state, it must complete tasks given by the state." According to Nikolov, RT news stories are written and edited "to become news" exclusively in RT's Moscow office (Dozhd TV, 11 July; AKT, 4 October).
• In her interview with pro-Kremlin journalist Sergey Minaev, Simonyan complimented RT staff in the United States for passionately defending Russian positions on the air and in social media. Simonyan said: "I wish you could see…how these guys, not just on air, but on their own social networks, Twitter, and when giving interviews, how they defend the positions that we stand on!" ("Minaev Live," 10 April).

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Simonyan shows RT facilities to then Prime Minister Putin. Simonyan was on Putin's 2012 presidential election campaign staff in Moscow (Rospress, 22 September 2010, Ria Novosti, 25 October 2012).

RT Focuses on Social Media, Building Audience

RT aggressively advertises its social media accounts and has a significant and fast-growing social media footprint. In line with its efforts to present itself as anti-mainstream and to provide viewers alternative news content, RT is making its social media operations a top priority, both to avoid broadcast TV regulations and to expand its overall audience.

• According to RT management, RT's website receives at least 500,000 unique viewers every day. Since its inception in 2005, RT videos received more than 800 million views on YouTube (1 million views per day), which is the highest among news outlets (see graphics for comparison with other news channels) (AKT, 4 October).
• According to Simonyan, the TV audience worldwide is losing trust in traditional TV broadcasts and stations, while the popularity of "alternative channels" like RT or Al Jazeera grows. RT markets itself as an "alternative channel" that is available via the Internet everywhere in the world, and it encourages interaction and social networking (Kommersant, 29 September).
• According to Simonyan, RT uses social media to expand the reach of its political reporting and uses well-trained people to monitor public opinion in social media commentaries (Kommersant, 29 September).
• According to Nikolov, RT requires its hosts to have social media accounts, in part because social media allows the distribution of content that would not be allowed on television (Newreporter.org, 11 October).
• Simonyan claimed in her 3 October interview to independent TV channel Dozhd that Occupy Wall Street coverage gave RT a significant audience boost.

The Kremlin spends $190 million a year on the distribution and dissemination of RT programming, focusing on hotels and satellite, terrestrial, and cable broadcasting. The Kremlin is rapidly expanding RT's availability around the world and giving it a reach comparable to channels such as Al Jazeera English. According to Simonyan, the United Kingdom and the United States are RT's most successful markets. RT does not, however, publish audience information.

• According to market research company Nielsen, RT had the most rapid growth (40 percent) among all international news channels in the United States over the past year (2012). Its audience in New York tripled and in Washington DC grew by 60% (Kommersant, 4 July).
• RT claims that it is surpassing Al Jazeera in viewership in New York and Washington DC (BARB, 20 November; RT, 21 November).
• RT states on its website that it can reach more than 550 million people worldwide and 85 million people in the United States; however, it does not publicize its actual US audience numbers (RT, 10 December).

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Formal Disassociation From Kremlin Facilitates RT US Messaging

RT America formally disassociates itself from the Russian Government by using a Moscow-based autonomous nonprofit organization to finance its US operations. According to RT's leadership, this structure was set up to avoid the Foreign Agents Registration Act and to facilitate licensing abroad. In addition, RT rebranded itself in 2008 to deemphasize its Russian origin.

According to Simonyan, RT America differs from other Russian state institutions in terms of ownership, but not in terms of financing. To disassociate RT from the Russian Government, the federal news agency RIA Novosti established a subsidiary autonomous nonprofit organization, TV-Novosti, using the formal independence of this company to establish and finance RT worldwide (Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Nikolov claimed that RT is an "autonomous noncommercial entity," which is "well received by foreign regulators" and "simplifies getting a license." Simonyan said that RT America is not a "foreign agent" according to US law because it uses a US commercial organization for its broadcasts (AKT, 4 October; Dozhd TV, 11 July).
• Simonyan observed that RT's original Russia-centric news reporting did not generate sufficient audience, so RT switched to covering international and US domestic affairs and removed the words "Russia Today" from the logo "to stop scaring away the audience" (Afisha, 18 October; Kommersant, 4 July).

• RT hires or makes contractual agreements with Westerners with views that fit its agenda and airs them on RT. Simonyan said on the pro-Kremlin show "Minaev Live" on 10 April that RT has enough audience and money to be able to choose its hosts, and it chooses the hosts that "think like us," "are interested in working in the anti-mainstream," and defend RT's beliefs on social media. Some hosts and journalists do not present themselves as associated with RT when interviewing people, and many of them have affiliations to other media and activist organizations in the United States ("Minaev Live," 10 April).

Annex B

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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:40 am

The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking’
by William Binney and Ray McGovern
January 6, 2017

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Still not showing evidence, U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper told senators he’s really sure Russia was the source of “hacked” Democratic emails, but the case remains weak, say ex-intelligence officials William Binney and Ray McGovern.

It has been several weeks since the New York Times reported that “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” led the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers” to help Donald Trump win the election. But the evidence released so far has been far from overwhelming.

The long anticipated Joint Analysis Report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Dec. 29 met widespread criticism in the technical community. Worse still, some of the advice it offered led to a very alarmist false alarm about supposed Russian hacking into a Vermont electric power station.

Advertised in advance as providing proof of Russian hacking, the report fell embarrassingly short of that goal. The thin gruel that it did contain was watered down further by the following unusual warning atop page 1: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

Also, curiously absent was any clear input from the CIA, NSA or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Reportedly, Mr. Clapper will get a chance on Friday to brief an understandably skeptical Donald Trump, who has called the briefing delay “very strange,” even suggesting that top intelligence officials “need more time to build a case.”

Clapper’s Checkered History

Mr. Trump’s skepticism is warranted not only by technical realities, but also by human ones, including the dramatis personae involved. Mr. Clapper has admitted giving Congress on March 12, 2013, false testimony regarding the extent of the National Security Agency’s collection of data on Americans. Four months later, after the Edward Snowden revelations, Mr. Clapper apologized to the Senate for testimony he admitted was “clearly erroneous.” That he is a survivor was already apparent by the way he landed on his feet after the intelligence debacle on Iraq.

Mr. Clapper was a key player in facilitating the fraudulent intelligence. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Mr. Clapper in charge of the analysis of satellite imagery, the best source for pinpointing the location of weapons of mass destruction — if any.


When Pentagon favorites like Iraqi émigré Ahmed Chalabi plied U.S. intelligence with spurious “evidence” on WMD in Iraq, Mr. Clapper was in position to suppress the findings of any imagery analyst who might have the temerity to report, for example, that the Iraqi “chemical weapons facility” for which Mr. Chalabi provided the geographic coordinates was nothing of the kind. Mr. Clapper preferred to go by the Rumsfeldian dictum: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” (It will be interesting to see if he tries that out on the President-elect Friday.)

A year after the war began, Mr. Chalabi told the media, “We are heroes in error. As far as we’re concerned we’ve been entirely successful.” By that time it was clear there were no WMD in Iraq. When Mr. Clapper was asked to explain, he opined, without adducing any evidence, that they probably were moved into Syria.

With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on “circumstantial evidence,” when it has NSA’s vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA’s capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking.

Here’s the difference:

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or other cyber-protection systems and then extracts data. Our own considerable experience, plus the rich detail revealed by Edward Snowden, persuades us that, with NSA’s formidable trace capability, it can identify both sender and recipient of any and all data crossing the network.

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization — on a thumb drive, for example — and gives it to someone else, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did. Leaking is the only way such data can be copied and removed with no electronic trace.

Because NSA can trace exactly where and how any “hacked” emails from the Democratic National Committee or other servers were routed through the network, it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack, as other reporting suggests. From a technical perspective alone, we are convinced that this is what happened.

Lastly, the CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in this electronic arena. Given Mr. Clapper’s checkered record for accuracy in describing NSA activities, it is to be hoped that the director of NSA will join him for the briefing with Mr. Trump.

William Binney (williambinney0802@comcast.net) worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. Ray McGovern (rrmcgovern@gmail.com) was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85. [This article previously appeared in The Baltimore Sun at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinio ... story.html]
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:53 am

How James Clapper will get away with perjury: Yes, the national director of intelligence lied under oath, and his defense is implausible. You think that matters?
by Paul Campos
June 12, 2013

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Did National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate in March? The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as it appears to be. As a practical matter, however, it’s the wrong question to be asking about Clapper’s behavior.

Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded, “No, sir … not wittingly.”

Now this is what an ordinary person would call a “lie.” Ordinary people also believe that perjury is lying under oath. But lawyers are not ordinary people, and, as a technical legal matter, the situation is more complicated.

If the question of whether Clapper committed perjury is understood to mean, “Would the government (if it were inclined to prosecute Clapper, which it won’t) be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Clapper’s response violated the federal perjury statutes?” the answer is, “Maybe, maybe not.”

Legally speaking, perjury is hard to prove, because it’s a highly technical offense. As a matter of federal law, a witness commits perjury if he knowingly makes a false material statement under oath. Clapper was under oath, his statement was false, and it was material to a legitimate governmental investigation. (The materiality requirement is intended to eliminate so-called “perjury traps,” in which a witness is asked a question for no other reason than to try to get him to perjure himself.)

Nevertheless, the government would not have a slam dunk perjury case against Clapper, if it chose to prosecute him. This is because, to secure a perjury conviction, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the witness knew his statement was false. No doubt relying on the advice of counsel, Clapper has already deployed what could be called the “it depends on what the meaning of ‘collect’ is” defense.

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Clapper used a metaphor for what the intelligence services are doing, in which he compared gathering information about phone conversations, as opposed to actively listening to those conversations, to tracking the Dewey Decimal System numbers of books on a library shelf, as opposed to actually reading the books:

To me, collection of U.S. persons’ data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it … And this has to do with of course somewhat of a semantic, perhaps some would say too – too cute by half [definition]. But it is – there are honest differences on the semantics of what, when someone says ‘collection’ to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to [Sen. Wyden].

Now this strikes me as an extremely implausible defense, especially in response to the question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions of Americans,” which in retrospect was obviously phrased by Sen. Wyden in this way in an attempt to stop Clapper from engaging in what even Clapper admits sounds like disingenuous semantic quibbling. (It’s also worth noting that Sen. Wyden provided Clapper with the questions he would be asked the day before the hearing, and gave him an opportunity the day afterward to modify or retract any of his testimony.)

But just because a defense sounds implausible, that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. Clapper would merely need to raise a reasonable doubt in one juror’s mind regarding whether he knew his statement was false. Would he be able to do so? That’s what Washington’s top white-collar criminal defense lawyers are paid $800 per hour to find out.

But in the end, that question should be irrelevant to the real question of the moment, which is whether there’s a good enough basis for concluding that Clapper lied to the Senate under oath, with “good enough” here meaning “good enough for the purposes of firing him.”

That is not – nor should it be — a technical question of criminal law, and you don’t have to be a lawyer to recognize that the answer to it is obvious.

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:59 am

The Royal Hunt of Donald the Terrible
by Charles Carreon
January 21, 2017

Image
THE PLEASURES OF SHOOTING. AFTER LUNCHEON THE "BEATING" IS A LITTLE WILD.
[Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger]


Washington loves nothing so much as a hunt, and the hunt started by the CIA, that set CNN and the rest of the press to croaking like a swamp full of bullfrogs, has been a Royal Hunt, indeed. Built of purest innuendo, the “intelligence dossier” that gave room for full-bore accusations of treason against the President Elect, has been elevated to the level of “credibility” by circuitous statements that hang from nothing but their own brazen assertions. Take this sampling of tautological statements that attempt to turn the “intelligence dossier” into something other than naked slander:

Jesus fucking Christ. This gun isn't smoking. It's burst into flame. "The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta." This is the evidence that the election was corrupted by the Trump team's collusion with a foreign power, and it seems very very very likely Trump knew. Treason.
-- Rebecca Solnit (Tweet), The New York Times

“Look, don't take anything in this dossier as gospel. But it's definitely evidence in favor of some pretty extraordinary claims.”
-- Zack Beauchamp @zackbeauchamp

Stunning and believable narrative in leaked docs describing alleged rift in Kremlin over meddling in US elections … Bombshell if true: Trump lawyer @MichaelCohen212 & Kremlin reps allegedly held clandestine August meeting in Prague
-- Borzou Daragahi @borzou

With CNN confirming that intelligence chiefs consider this report credible, it's about time to start using the word "treason."
-- Markos Moulitsas @markos

The evidence is questionable, but the idea looks entirely plausibleUnverifiable sensational details aside, the Trump dossier is a good reflection of how things are run in the Kremlin … with methods borrowed from the KGB … [so] whatever the truth of Putin’s connections with Trump, [it’s all] pretty scary.
-- Andrei Soldatov, The Guardian

Regardless of truth or falsity, I can see why they thought the president-elect should know.
-- Former CIA Director Michael Hayden


The New Journalism: Believing Double-talk From People Who Lie for A Living

Using weasel-words like “alleged,” “purported,” and “not-Gospel,” to describe the “intelligence dossier,” while simultaneously citing it as “evidence of treason” is just doubletalk. Journalists used to help us make the distinction between allegations and evidence, but that’s not the approach they’re taking here – urging readers to believe for the sake of believing whenever the story is good enough to believe. That a narrative is “stunning and believable” is a description of good fiction, not an indication of its accuracy. That an idea is “plausible” does not commend it to the wise for acceptance, but merely for consideration. That intelligence agents sometimes pass on information “regardless of truth or falsity” does not suggest that, by being passed along, false information becomes true.

But the authors of these words are all urging us to jump to another conclusion, not so tediously weighed down with logic: “When an ‘intelligence agent’ says something, even without a witness or anything more than their own words to support it, we must all stand up and salute it as ‘evidence’”. Well, for those of us with a memory longer than, say, 18 months, we can remember all the way back to when a spook was a spook, and his word, without evidence, was the worthless doubletalk of people who would have to kill you if they told you the truth. How times have changed.

“Less Here Than Meets the Eye”

Americans have been given a choice: to believe that Russia has its hand up Trump’s butt, and is running him like a puppet, or to deny that this is a proven fact. Those of us who are less than convinced that we are facing a commie takeover by Donald the Terrible don’t get a second chance to believe. We’re out of the discussion, exiled from “liberal” society, that has somehow decided to believe whatever the CIA has to say about the guy who was headed for, and now is sitting in, the White House. When we try to run down the facts behind the “intelligence dossier” that has been adopted as true by the same crowd that told us to watch out for “fake news,” we discover there are none. It’s all conjecture. As Tallula Bankhead famously observed, “There is less here than meets the eye.”

The Goal? To Imprison the President in Failed Policies

But the lack of evidence never sways the faith of believers. The beaters in this Royal Hunt have dedicated all of their firepower and noisemaking ability at flushing the President out of his lair and straight into the policy prison where the entire Establishment is now wailing that all Presidents must reside. Or what? There is a possibility of what? A rupture with past policies? An overturning of existing relationships? The reordering of relationships?

All those briefing books Trump refuses to read – they’re full of catechism, not knowledge. They are the latest advice from a cadre of pinheads who haven’t done anything particularly right in US foreign policy as far back as they’ve been an influence. Their catechism teaches that military expansionism is good foreign policy, and their dominance of all Washington thinking has now metastasized into the giant boil of pissed-off spies erupting on the forehead of official Washington in a grotesque, pulsing tumor. The only thing more grotesque than the CIA's resort to McCarthy-era propaganda tactics is the convulsive Seig-Heiling of the media lackeys as one body, thrilled at last to be part of the "liberal agenda."

Mistake me not for a Trumper, on this day or any of the remaining days of his administration. Nevertheless, the McCarthyite clamor now resonating the echo-chambers of the media regarding Donald Trump and the “Russian hacking scandal” is mere journalistic flatulence occasioned by gluttonous consumption of fact-free propaganda. What effect it will have on the policies of a man who seems to be hell bent on driving his motorcade through the front yard of the approved political habitation has yet to be seen.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:31 am

President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence's full remarks at the CIA Headquarters on Saturday.
by President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence
January 21, 2017

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you to the Acting Director Meroe Park. Thank you for 27 years serving the United States of America here at CIA.

It's a great privilege for me to be with you today and to have the opportunity to introduce at his first event, on his first full day, the new President of the United States, Donald Trump. (Applause.)

As you can imagine, it's deeply humbling for my family and I to find ourselves in this role. I'm grateful to our new President for the opportunity he's given me and the opportunity the American people have given us to serve. But it's especially humbling for me to be before all of you today -- men and women of character, who have sacrificed greatly -- and to stand before this hallowed wall, this memorial wall, where we remember 117 who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I can assure you this new President and our entire team recognizes and appreciates the sacrifices of all of the men and women of the intelligence community of the United States of America. (Applause.)

I've gotten to know our new President. We traveled a lot together. When the cameras are off and the -- lights are off, I'll tell you two things I know for sure. Number one, I've never met anyone more dedicated to the safety and security of the people of the United States of America, or anyone who is a greater strategic thinker about how we accomplish that for this nation. In fact, to understand the life of our new President is -- his whole life was strategy. He built an extraordinary success in the private sector, and I know he's going to make America safe again. (Applause.)

And lastly, I can honestly tell you, for all my years serving in the Congress, serving as governor of my home state, traveling cross-country and seeing the connection that he's made to men and women who serve and protect in every capacity in this country, I've never met anyone with a greater heart for those who every day, in diverse ways, protect the people of this nation through their character and their service and their sacrifice.

And so let me say, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce all of you the President of the United States. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I want to thank everybody. Very, very special people. And it is true, this is my first stop, officially. We're not talking about the balls, or we're not talking about even the speeches -- although they did treat me nicely on that speech yesterday. (Laughter.) I always call them the dishonest media, but they treated me nicely. (Laughter.)

But I want to say that there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There's nobody. (Applause.)

The wall behind me is very, very special. We've been touring for quite a while, and I'll tell you what -- 29? I can't believe it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Twenty-eight.

TRUMP: Oh, 28. We got to reduce it. That's amazing. And we really appreciate what you've done in terms of showing us something very special. And your whole group, these are really special, amazing people. Very, very few people could do the job you people do. And I want to just let you know, I am so behind you. And I know maybe sometimes you haven’t gotten the backing that you've wanted, and you're going to get so much backing. Maybe you're going to say, please don’t give us so much backing. (Laughter.) Mr. President, please, we don’t need that much backing. (Laughter.) But you're going to have that. And I think everybody in this room knows it.

You know, the military and the law enforcement, generally speaking, but all of it -- but the military gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military. And probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did. (Laughter.) But I would guarantee a big portion, because we're all on the same wavelength, folks. (Applause.) We're all on the same wavelength, right? He knows. It took Brian about 30 seconds to figure that one out, right, because we know we're on the same wavelength.

But we're going to do great things. We're going to do great things. We've been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we've ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have. We've been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS. Have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. (Applause.) Radical Islamic terrorism. And I said it yesterday -- it has to be eradicated just off the face of the Earth. This is evil. This is evil. And you know, I can understand the other side. We can all understand the other side. There can be wars between countries, there can be wars. You can understand what happened. This is something nobody can even understand. This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen. And you're going to go to it, and you're going to do a phenomenal job. But we're going to end it. It's time. It's time right now to end it.

You have somebody coming on who is extraordinary. For the different positions of "Secretary of This" and "Secretary of That" and all of these great positions, I'd see five, six, seven, eight people. And we had a great transition. We had an amazing team of talent. And, by the way, General Flynn is right over here. Put up your hand. What a good guy. (Applause.) And Reince and my whole group. Reince -- you know -- they don’t care about Reince. He's like this political guy that turned out to be a superstar, right? We don’t have to talk about Reince.

But we did -- we had such a tremendous, tremendous success. So when I'm interviewing all of these candidates that Reince and his whole group is putting in front, it went very, very quickly, and, in this case, went so quickly -- because I would see six or seven or eight for Secretary of Agriculture, who we just named the other day, Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia. Fantastic guy. But I'd see six, seven, eight people for a certain position. Everybody wanted it.

But I met Mike Pompeo, and it was the only guy I met. I didn’t want to meet anybody else. I said, cancel everybody else. Cancel. Now, he was approved, essentially, but they're doing little political games with me. He was one of the three. Now, last night, as you know, General Mattis, fantastic guy, and General Kelly got approved. (Applause.) And Mike Pompeo was supposed to be in that group. It was going to be the three of them. Can you imagine all of these guys? People respect -- you know, they respect that military sense. All my political people, they're not doing so well. The political people aren’t doing so well but you. We're going to get them all through, but some will take a little bit longer than others.

But Mike was literally -- I had a group of -- what, we had nine different people? Now, I must say, I didn’t mind cancelling eight appointments. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world. But I met him and I said, he is so good. Number one in his class at West Point.

Now, I know a lot about West Point. I'm a person that very strongly believes in academics. In fact, every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years who did a fantastic job in so many different ways, academically -- was an academic genius -- and then they say, is Donald Trump an intellectual? Trust me, I'm like a smart persona. (Laughter.) And I recognized immediately. So he was number one at West Point, and he was also essentially number one at Harvard Law School. And then he decided to go into the military. And he ran for Congress. And everything he's done has been a homerun. People like him, but much more importantly to me, everybody respects him. And when I told Paul Ryan that I wanted to do this, I would say he may be the only person that was not totally thrilled -- right, Mike? Because he said, I don’t want to lose this guy.

But you will be getting a total star. You're going to be getting a total gem. He's a gem. (Applause.) You'll see. You'll see. And many of you know him anyway. But you're going to see. And again, we have some great people going in. But this one is something -- is going to be very special, because this is one, if I had to name the most important, this would certainly be perhaps -- you know, in certain ways, you could say my most important. You do the job like everybody in this room is capable of doing. And the generals are wonderful, and the fighting is wonderful. But if you give them the right direction, boy, does the fighting become easier. And, boy, do we lose so fewer lives, and win so quickly. And that's what we have to do. We have to start winning again.

You know, when I was young and when I was -- of course, I feel young. I feel like I'm 30, 35, 39. (Laughter.) Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I'm young. You know, I was stopping -- when we were in the final month of that campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops. Speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 30,000 people, 15,000, 19,000 from stop to stop. I feel young.

When I was young -- and I think we're all sort of young. When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. We'd win with trade. We'd win with wars. At a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors, "The United States has never lost a war." And then, after that, it's like we haven’t won anything. We don’t win anymore. The old expression, "to the victor belong the spoils" -- you remember. I always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. Now, I said it for economic reasons. But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that's where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil. But okay. (Laughter.) Maybe you'll have another chance. But the fact is, should have kept the oil.

I believe that this group is going to be one of the most important groups in this country toward making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems. We have so many problems that are interrelated that we don’t even think of, but interrelated to the kind of havoc and fear that this sick group of people has caused. So I can only say that I am with you 1,000 percent.

And the reason you're my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. (Laughter and applause.) And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you're the number-one stop is exactly the opposite -- exactly. And they understand that, too.

And I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech? (Applause.) I've been given good reviews. But we had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we're not going to let it rain on your speech.

In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we'll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny. And then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured. But, you know, we have something that's amazing because we had -- it looked -- honestly, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that's not bad, but it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around -- you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed. So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they're going to pay a big price.

We had another one yesterday, which was interesting. In the Oval Office there's a beautiful statue of Dr. Martin Luther King. And I also happen to like Churchill, Winston Churchill. I think most of us like Churchill. He doesn’t come from our country, but had a lot to do with it. Helped us; real ally. And, as you know, the Churchill statue was taken out -- the bust. And as you also probably have read, the Prime Minister is coming over to our country very shortly. And they wanted to know whether or not I'd like it back. I say, absolutely, but in the meantime we have a bust of Churchill.

So a reporter for Time magazine -- and I have been on there cover, like, 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time Magazine. Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it's one time, because he won the Super Bowl or something, right? (Laughter.) I've been on it for 15 times this year. I don’t think that's a record, Mike, that can ever be broken. Do you agree with that? What do you think?

But I will say that they said -- it was very interesting -- that Donald Trump took down the bust, the statue, of Dr. Martin Luther King. And it was right there. But there was a cameraman that was in front of it. (Laughter.) So Zeke -- Zeke from Time Magazine writes a story about I took down. I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King. But this is how dishonest the media is.

Now, the big story -- the retraction was, like, where? Was it a line? Or do they even bother putting it in? So I only like to say that because I love honesty. I like honest reporting.

I will tell you, final time -- although I will say it, when you let in your thousands of other people that have been trying to come in -- because I am coming back -- we're going to have to get you a larger room. (Applause.) We may have to get you a larger room. You know? And maybe, maybe, it will be built by somebody that knows how to build, and we won't have columns. (Laughter.) You understand that? (Applause.) We get rid of the columns.

No, I just wanted to really say that I love you, I respect you. There's nobody I respect more. You're going to do a fantastic job. And we're going to start winning again, and you're going to be leading the charge.

So thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you -- you're beautiful. Thank you all very much. Have a good time. I'll be back. I'll be back. Thank you.
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